Chaser utilises the principle of polite persistence to achieve its objective as a Xero Add-on solution for debtor management. In my experience as a company accountant for many years, I think I would have to agree with this philosophy. The key, however, is how it goes about achieving this objective. In this review, I hope to answer that for you.
Is it easy to use?
Chaser has a very simple interface, which is not cluttered and very user-friendly. I felt it was quite intuitive and in many ways an easy flow on for any Xero user. The interface is broken up into three major areas.
- Invoices – being the main module where all the action happens.
- Customers – Maintaining the correct information for your customers is vital to chaser being able to do its job, and is a necessity for any Xero business user.
- Settings – Where you set up and customise Chaser to do its magic.
How does it work?
I remember training my accounts receivable assistant, and telling her the key reason I collect money so successfully is I always respect the customer and politely follow them up on a consistent basis. I would always try to build the relationship up, knowing full well how I chased money, always had an impact on the rest of the team, mainly our sales team. Harsh account teams, determined to collect money at all costs, often destroy bridges that others need to cross over.
Chaser runs in two modes, one is automated and the other is a manual mode. Both the manual and automated modes utilise the heart of the Chaser engine and that’s the automated ‘Polite’ reminders.
Chaser has eight reminders that arrive out of the box, however, you can add or delete however many reminders you want and also add two intensity levels of normal and escalated to assist in the intensity of the “chase”. Each reminder is set to the invoice due date as a point of reference and as the days pass, it automatically triggers an email reminder that escalates in intensity as the invoice progressively gets older.
The other key to Chaser is how easy it is to customise the email templates, and how you can get rid of that automated feel and make it look like you took the time to actually email the customer personally. You can very easily duplicate your signature from your current email client so that it would have the very same look. Further to this, the actual email template is very concise stating how much is owed, which invoice(s) and invoice numbers, and takes the liberty of also attaching the invoice for the customers’ reference.
The automated mode is set up to extract all the necessary information from the sales ledger out of Xero and ascertain which invoices are overdue and what stage they are at, it will then automatically send out the reminder emails and escalate as required. It will also pick up when the invoice is paid and send out a thank you – again a lot of nice features to keep building strong relationships, which is really great. This feature can be toggled on and off with a master switch that is very prominently laid out on the menu in the startup screen.
The manual mode pretty much does the same as the automated mode, except you have to manually go and choose the invoice that is due and click on the “Chase now” button to begin the process on a per invoice basis, as opposed to the global automation of the entire process in Automatic mode.
Chaser provides email support and is one of the few Xero add-ons out there that provides the actual CEO’s email address on their support page, which is quite rare and shows a lot of commitment from the top down to ensuring the success of their product.
Pricing is on a sliding scale of how many invoices you require Chaser to process as per the table below.
|Basic||Up to 50 Invoices Chased per month||AUD 35|
|Standard||Up to 200 Invoices Chased per month||AUD 95|
|Professional||Up to 400 Invoices Chased per month||AUD 195|
|Enterprise||Unlimited Invoices Chased per month||AUD 325|
Currently, Chaser’s key integration is with Xero and it works very well to pull all the information it requires from Xero. It does not write anything back to Xero as it really does not need to. The main purpose is to pull the correct invoice and customer information, so that Chaser can focus on what it does best, and that is to chase for payment!
Chaser Company History
Chaser a UK based company was founded by David Tuck, a qualified accountant and tax adviser, and Mark Woodbridge, who has a lot of experience in designing and implementing software for informatics and data analysis. Recently they raised 500,000 pounds to expand and grow their business in Australia and have made great inroads into the Australian market.
As with any automated system, the dialogue is often one way. I think an element that is quite important in any relationship is having that two-way interaction and being able to capture that, whether it’s a customer promising to pay on a certain day or building in a payment plan that can be emailed out. It would be great if the customer could then be reminded to stick to the plan they have agreed to. These are also important aspects of the chase.
However, I believe Chaser has a very sound foundation for building and maintaining strong business relationships with their polite and persistent schedule that triggers emails in chasing up debtors. It is the very simplicity of the system that I believe is also key to Chaser’s success. Further to this the human aspect being represented by highly customisable email templates is also key to getting a high response rate. Chaser is a great Xero add-on and does a very good job in achieving its objectives in chasing debtors.